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An interview with Susanta Kumar Panda, MD of Odisha's Jay Bharat Spices
With the growing population and changing economy of India, life-style has also changed. Indian kitchens are no more limited with traditional recipes. With busy life schedule not only modern Indians but rural housewives are more friendly to packaged spices.

You cannot imagine any Indian dish, which is made without using traditional spices like turmeric powder, chilly powder, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, curry leaves and garam masala. These are the basic needs of a simple Indian dish.

While most people around the world recognise Indian cuisines as a spicy, tangy, masaledaar in taste, they also include herbs and condiments which are essential for a healthy diet.

Indian recipe and spices have a great name across the globe for its fragrance and aroma. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector while offering a large number of employment and prompting farmers to farm profitable spice seeds.

We spoke to Susanta Kumar Panda, MD of Jay Bharat Spices Pvt. Ltd. in Odisha in a bid know his views about the growth of spice industry in the country and particularly in the state of Odisha.

Here's excerpts of the interview.

Q. Odisha is considered as a backward state. But you have excelled. How it is?

Susanta Kumar PandaSusanta Kumar Panda (SKP): See, it is a mindset. We have plenty natural resources, forests, 480 km. long coast line, big sea ports and young energetic generation. But there should be a proper policy framework and its implementation. We are lagging behind in that. But who have fought on their own with an aim they are marching ahead.

Q. What is your aim?

SKP: I am doing business. My aim is to excel in my business. At the same time I have some responsibility and duty towards the society, my state and my country. I am trying my best to be a part of the development process of my state.

Q. You have told many times prior that you have started business with Rs. 500/-. But it is a Rs.120/- core company within short span. How it possible?

SKP: Everything is possible if you adhere to the moral value and ethical practice may be late, but definitely you will be successful. Our company is following that. We have never thought of cheating our valued customers, my family and my product. That’s why my products are well received by the people across various segments.

Q. Do you think there is a conducive business atmosphere in Odisha?

SKP: Atmosphere never lies before anywhere. It is a 50:50 situation. If you are providing a product or a service that must be of high quality, according to the needs of the customers and of course price is a matter. But now people are ready to pay a little bit higher price if the quality is maintained. Our products are of best quality and affordable.

Q. How is Odisha market for spices?

SKP: It is a very good market. Because ours is a coastal state situated in the eastern part of the country. People here prefer non veg. food, basically fish and marine products and also veg dishes. Also now a day’s people have less time to prepare wet-grinded spices in their homes. So processed and packed spices are now on demand as it is ready to use and add test to the dishes.

Q. What are the hurdles you are facing in your business? I mean from procurement to market the products?

SKP: Problems are so many. Except Turmeric and Ginger nothing is being produced here. We have to depend on other states. So we have to be in regular touch with the raw material suppliers of other states. The rates also vary according to the situation prevailing there. Road transport cost has gone high. There is no railway cargo facility as such for small industries. Likewise you have to pay higher electricity bills, taxes etc. After all we are in the market as a serious and strong player and marching ahead.

Q. What do you expect from the Odisha government?

SKP: Nothing but a level playing field, good MSME policy, credit linkage with Banks and other financial institutions, providing land for expansion and to promote MSME Industries of the state. Not only that, but also create an entrepreneur friendly atmosphere and prepare skilled manpower is the need of the hour.

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